In the past few months, USA Hockey and AHAI have lost two of its most influential leaders, Rich Butera and Rich Becker; both passed away after lengthy health battles.
Rich Butera held positions as the USA Hockey and Central District Risk Manager. Rich donated his professional knowledge in the Insurance industry to advance, educate and protect the rinks, clubs and most importantly the players for many years. Rich and his family have all been a part of the Illinois hockey family through playing, coaching or administration. Rich’s passion for hockey is still running strong with his grand-kids now taking the ice and carrying on Rich’s traditions.
Rich Becker held USA Hockey positions as a Central District Representative, USA Hockey Executive Committee member and USA Hockey legal council member. Rich was an AHAI Volunteer and Board member for 30+ years. He was Chair of the AHAI R&E and Coaching Committees, running these Committees for many years. Additionally, he established the Tier II President’s Council. Rich was also President of the Glenview Stars Hockey Club. Rich’s legal expertise and guidance, guided AHAI for many years. Rich authored the majority of the AHAI Guide Book that is used to administer all of youth hockey in Illinois. While Rich’s professional skills made him a great board member, it was his personal touch that made him a true leader. Rich always reached out to make personal contact to either solve issues or gather opinions face-to-face. It did not matter how busy Rich was, he would make time to listen and offer sound, sometimes firm advice. Rich’s family also continues to be involved in coaching and the grand-kids skating.
The influence of both Rich Butera and Rich Becker cannot be overstated. They both helped form the existing structure of not only AHAI, but USA Hockey. Both donated their professional talents for the benefit of many without any compensation as volunteers. More importantly, both Rich Butera and Rich Becker touched and enhanced the opportunities and experiences for over 30 years of players. Along the way they created personal relationships and friendships that live on in all those touched them.